Climate change and contaminated water have triggered an epidemic of kidney disease.

In Sri Lanka, a serene island nation in the Indian Ocean, a silent killer is claiming the lives of thousands of men. Statistics reveal an alarming spike in chronic kidney disease cases, and experts point to two main culprits: climate change and water pollution.

In rural northern and eastern Sri Lanka, where agriculture is the backbone of the local economy, farmers face a daily struggle not only to cultivate their land but also to survive amid a growing health crisis. Extreme temperatures and prolonged droughts, exacerbated by climate change, have forced many farmers to rely on contaminated water sources for irrigation and personal consumption.

Pesticide and fertilizer use in agriculture has also contributed to groundwater contamination. Studies have shown that these chemicals, combined with global warming, have created a toxic cocktail that has a serious impact on kidney health. The result is an epidemic of chronic kidney disease that disproportionately affects working-age men, leaving many families without their primary breadwinners.

Hospitals in these areas are overwhelmed by the number of patients requiring treatment for kidney disease. Dialysis units are overloaded and many patients have to travel long distances to receive adequate medical care. Lack of access to adequate treatment and shortages of medical resources have turned this health crisis into a humanitarian tragedy.

The Government of Sri Lanka, together with international organizations, is working to address this crisis. Programs are underway to improve drinking water infrastructure and educate farmers on the safe use of pesticides and fertilizers. However, the road to recovery is long and requires a concerted effort at both the local and global levels to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure access to clean water.

The international community also has a crucial role to play. Global cooperation in combating climate change and providing technical and financial assistance to affected countries is essential to addressing health issues such as the kidney disease epidemic in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, in rural villages across Sri Lanka, families continue to face this daily challenge. Stories of loss and suffering are common, but so are those of resilience and hope. The people of Sri Lanka are determined to overcome this crisis and protect future generations from the silent killer that has haunted the nation for far too long.